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Black Columbus police lieutenant awarded $2 in racial discrimination case

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A federal jury on Monday sided with a Columbus Police Lieutenant who argued the police department racially discriminated and retaliated against her.

Lt. Melissa McFadden, who is Black, filed a civil rights lawsuit against the the city of Columbus in 2018.

Court records show the jury awarded McFadden $2 in their decision following a four-day trial.

In 2018, McFadden was accused of having a "Black militancy mindset" and creating a hostile work environment, allegations that McFadden said were brought against her as punishment for helping another Black officer file an EEO complaint over racial harassment.

Then Public Safety Director Ned Pettus cleared McFadden of three allegations of misconduct because he said they could not be proven. Prior to that then-Chief Kim Jacobs recommended McFadden should be fired following an Internal Affiairs investigation.

McFadden remains employed by the Columbus Division of Police.

Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein's office issued a statement that they respected the jury's decision.

"The City Attorney’s office takes seriously any allegations of retaliation and discrimination by city employers. We thank the judge and jury for taking the time necessary to understand, deliberate and decide this case. We respect their decision."

Matthew Rand is the Morning Edition host for 89.7 NPR News. Rand served as an interim producer during the pandemic for WOSU’s All Sides daily talk show.